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Welcome to Contrary Frog

Image credit: “Another "Neighbor” by Usonian is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 There's a Korean folktale about a young frog who never listens to his mother, always doing the opposite of what he's told. Then his mother falls ill and before she dies, knowing her son, she asks him to bury her by the river … Continue reading Welcome to Contrary Frog

Gardening lessons – July 2022

I think it was anthropologist Mary Douglas who wrote, “dirt is matter out of place.” Such a pithy way of explaining the importance of cultural context in defining the boundaries between the pure and impure, the clean and unclean, and the ways whole societies organize themselves around those definitions. This is what came to mind … Continue reading Gardening lessons – July 2022

#17 – february 8: the tyranny of normal

2019. I look back at photos from that time with a bit of wonder. My 50th birthday celebration at a Chicago restaurant with friends who’d traveled from other cities. Our spring break trip to Korea with my mother. The kids’ birthday parties at one venue or another. Our then-6th grader’s first middle school dance. One … Continue reading #17 – february 8: the tyranny of normal

#16 – september 18: are we “post”?

Clearly not. There was a moment this summer, sometime in June or July when the vaccine became available for kids 12 and over, when there seemed to be a collective unclenching, a sigh of relief as we returned to some limited gatherings indoors and looked forward to a much better school year. People traveled and … Continue reading #16 – september 18: are we “post”?

#15 – august 27: funeral for a hamster

In early April 2020, when we knew lockdown wasn’t going to be for just a few weeks, I posted about our deciding to get a new hamster after my younger son had lost two in quick succession. I wrote then, “Whatever happens, I will be grateful if Potato gets us through this pandemic.” Turns out … Continue reading #15 – august 27: funeral for a hamster

#14 – may 20: bartleby the seventh grader

“Can you keep your camera on during class?” I would prefer not to. “How about catching up on your homework assignments today?” I would prefer not to. “It’s a beautiful day; you should get outside.” I would prefer not to. “Do you want to meet up with a friend today?” I would prefer not to. … Continue reading #14 – may 20: bartleby the seventh grader

#13 — february 14: J. Hillis Miller, a remembrance

I found out from a Facebook post that famed literary critic J. Hillis Miller had died of Covid on Feb. 7 at age 92. Professor Miller was my dissertation advisor at UC Irvine, where I was in graduate school for most of the ‘90’s. By the time I’d enrolled in his seminar, he’d been a … Continue reading #13 — february 14: J. Hillis Miller, a remembrance

#12 – december 31: ending the year in a pandemic

Every year I put together a family photo calendar with photos from the previous year arranged in chronological order month by month. 2021’s January page features pictures of us at the Chicago Botanic Garden Lightscape show and February features my younger son’s birthday party at a trampoline place that I doubt is still in business. … Continue reading #12 – december 31: ending the year in a pandemic